Haryana banned the manufacture, storage, sale and distribution of guthka and pan masala containing tobacco or nicotine as ingredients August 15 onwards.
“Imposing a ban on any product can never be a solution to a problem. Government should create awareness among the public to stop consuming tobacco-based products”, said RP Sharma, a guthka /pan masala manufacturer who has been in this business for some three decades.
India is the third largest grower and second biggest exporter of tobacco.
“(The ban) has led to a 40 percent decline in the sale of tobacco-based products such as chewable tobacco, which the company has stopped manufacturing,” Sharma said.
“We supply tobacco-based products to other states also but cannot manufacture in Haryana,” Sharma said.
If the state government forbids local manufacturers from producing tobacco-based products, it should also prohibit the import of tobacco from other states. Black marketing of any product should be prevented in the state, said Gulab Chand another manufacturer of Tobacco.
The haryana state has already recorded a 25 percent decline in the growth of tobacco crops and THE ban can lead to major losses FOR growers and traders in the state, said Chand.
Manufacturers of tobacco / tobacco-based products are playing with the health of the public. Hence they do not have any rights to give any suggestions to the government, said Rakesh Gupta, Haryana’s food safety commissioner.
“The department has already shut down hookah bars in the state while the ban on the tobacco / tobacco-based products is the second step. We have not imposed a fine on anybody in the last one week but have seized stocks of guthka and pan masala and will send out samples for testing”, said the commissioner.